Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: LC Chase
Series: Toronto Tales – Book 2
Release Date: December 14, 2012
Audio narrated by Tristan James.
Detective Ivan Bekker has hit rock bottom. Not only is he recovering from a bad breakup with a cheating boyfriend, he’s also involved in a drug bust gone bad. Ivan had to kill a man, and his friend was shot and is now fighting for his life. Though Ivan is under investigation for his part in the shooting, his boss sends him on an off-the-books undercover operation to close the case. The timing is critical—this could be their chance to plug a leak in the department.
Off-balance and without backup, Ivan finds himself playing a recent divorcé and becoming Parker Wakefield’s roommate. He finds it hard to believe that sweet Parker could possibly be a criminal, much less have ties to a Russian mafia drug-trafficking operation, and Ivan lets down his guard. His affection is unprofessional, but Parker is irresistible.
When Ivan comes across clear evidence of Parker’s criminal involvement, he has to choose: protect their relationship, regardless of the consequences, or save his career and arrest the man he loves.
Toronto Tales is set in the city of my birth, and where I lived most of my life. The guys in these stories are just every day guys, wanting what everyone else does – friends, family, someone to love. They find their happily ever after… eventually!
Excerpt -- WARNING: Content may be explicit, sexual or offensive. Read at your own risk, and only if you are over 18
Neil thought he was an idiot for wanting a roommate. The sweet lady at the university housing office told him mid-semester was the worst time to search for one. When she’d called telling him she had a candidate, although not a student, Parker had been ecstatic. A newly divorced man might be as lonely as he was, because the emptiness of his place was crushing him, and Neil refused to move in. He certainly hadn’t expected to find the guy attractive.
“So, beer?” Parker proffered the chilled bottle, hoping the booze would ease the way. He didn’t want Neil to be right. The desperation to prove Neil wrong intensified as Ivan’s lips thinned and he reached out for the bottle.
“Thanks. Have you got a local pizza place you like, or should I just call Pizza Pizza?”
“Pizza Pizza’s good.” It was Parker’s favorite, anyway. Being able to call a single phone number, no matter where you were in the city, and get a decent pizza delivered was a boon to both students and stoners alike.
“I saw you had a sweet TV out there. Want to put something on while I call?”
“Uh, sure.” What the hell was he supposed to put on? Clearly they weren’t going to talk. Probably that was too much to expect. They weren’t on a date. Parker grimaced. He assumed straight guys used TV as an avoidance mechanism, just like the gay guys he knew.
With a sigh, he sank down on the couch. Neil had talked him into getting the entertainment system, but it hadn’t taken long for Parker to realize it wasn’t for Parker’s benefit. He fiddled with the remote, postponing turning it on.
“What do you want on your pizza?” Ivan called from the kitchen.
Parker rubbed his belly and frowned. “Pepperoni’s fine.”
He couldn’t tell what Ivan’s grunt meant, but the subsequent low rumble was obviously the man ordering pizza, even though Parker couldn’t distinguish any specific words.
A few minutes later, while Parker stared at the remote in his hands, Ivan strode out of the kitchen and flung himself down in the armchair. The room seemed smaller, somehow, even though Ivan was a couple inches shorter than Parker. Those shoulders, though, were wide enough to steal Parker’s breath, and under the boring blue golf shirt was a super fit body. Not that he would have tried anything if Ivan had sat beside him on the couch. The proximity of good-looking men made him squirmy and stupid.
Ivan stretched out a hand, and Parker stared at it for a moment before he let out an embarrassed chuff of laughter and handed over the remote.
“Let’s see what you’ve got to make this TV worthwhile.”
Ivan flipped on the TV with the practiced hand of a veteran. The huge expanse of flesh on the enormous screen clued Parker in to what Neil had been watching last as the room filled with moans and the slick sound of adequately lubed fucking. The camera pulled back to bring into focus a giant cock pumping into someone’s ass. Parker’s entire body chilled as all available blood rushed to his face—probably not the moviemaker’s intended result. He leapt over the coffee table, slamming his shin against it as he went, and scrabbled at the DVD player. Goddamn Neil.
Doing his best to block the screen with his body, Parker waited an eternity for the disc to slide out. After what seemed like several hellish minutes, the blessed blue menu screen replaced the oversized cock, set of balls, and full moon. He snatched the disc out of the player and tossed it behind the TV. Serve Neil right if it broke. Probably pirated anyway.
With dread—and a face on fire—Parker turned back to Ivan. Had he noticed it was two guys fucking? When Parker first advertised for a roommate, it never occurred to him to mention he was gay, but suddenly that seemed a huge mistake. The hard, curved biceps peeking out of his short sleeves were testament to the power Ivan could put behind a punch. Parker’s shin throbbed, reminding him of how vulnerable a body could be.
Stunned wasn’t disgusted—or homicidal—was it? Or in this case, homo-cidal?
Ivan’s lips worked, but he didn’t say anything.
“It’s not mine.” Parker wanted to call back the words as soon as they escaped. Seriously, could he have sounded any more guilty?
Ivan cut a glance at the couch, and Parker’s face burned hotter than before. Was he imagining Parker sitting there, jerking off? Would it be any less embarrassing—or icky—to explain it was Neil? Because Parker didn’t want to think about that either. Undoubtedly, Ivan was pleased he hadn’t sat on the couch. It was going to take a supreme effort of will for Parker to sit back on the couch before he’d had it scotch-guarded.
“Okay.” Ivan sounded almost like he believed Parker. “You want to…?” Ivan waved the remote, and a fresh flood of mortification swamped Parker as he moved from his protective and obstructive stance in front of the TV.
Trying not to be too obvious, Parker inspected the couch. He couldn’t see any new stains, and he limped around the coffee table to sit down gingerly.
Ivan flipped on the retro video station before turning to him. Parker hadn’t really taken the time to look at his new roommate in the kitchen, but now he did. Ivan had the wide-set eyes and sharply defined cheekbones Parker associated with Eastern European men, similar to the guys Neil had brought around on occasion, but so rugged and gorgeous it hurt. Golden blond hair and dark blue eyes and a body without an ounce of fat, although Parker wouldn’t mind making a thorough, naked inspection to be sure. Just as some of the blood left his face—finally—for a point farther south, Ivan raised a brow questioningly.
Parker coughed and glanced at the video playing on the TV. He didn’t recognize it, but there was a lot of spiky, bleached hair. He shouldn’t have been staring at his new roommate, assuming he hadn’t scared Ivan off already. Even if Ivan wasn’t straight, he was way out of Parker’s league. Probably thought he was nothing more than some dumb university kid who spent all his free time whacking off on the sofa.
The silence stretched out endlessly, punctuated by the distinctive wail of eighties electronica. Ivan must not have realized the DVD had shown two guys fucking, or he would have said
something, wouldn’t he? Although Ivan’s intent stare was very much like one of his professors trying to catch someone in a lie, which was a little weird.
“Did you, uh, find your room? Is it okay? We can move some of the furniture around. The laundry’s downstairs, and we can make a schedule for cleaning and shopping and stuff and—” Parker broke off. His words had accelerated, but he hadn’t been able to put on the brakes until his breath ran out, even though Ivan’s eyes had widened partway through his speech. Embarrassment flared in his face— again—and he bit his lip to stop himself from saying another word. This was why he didn’t have many friends aside from Neil. Neil was the only one who’d hung out with the fat kid and stuck around after Parker had shed the weight but retained his social idiocy.
Ivan frowned, and Parker frowned back, unsure where to go from here. He shifted his legs and caught his shin on the edge of the coffee table again.
“Ow. Fuck.” Throbbing pain exploded where he’d hit his leg during his ungainly leap over the table, and he wrapped a hand around it, rocking and biting his lip to keep in any whimpers.
“Let me look.” Ivan left his seat to drop to his knees by Parker, making him freeze.
With gentle fingers, Ivan moved Parker’s hand and slid the leg of Parker’s jeans up. He pressed his fingers around the contusion, the pain making Parker hiss.
“You’re going to have a nasty bruise, and you broke the skin, but not badly. No fracture, I don’t think. Have you got a first aid kit?” Ivan stared up into his face, and Parker had a little trouble catching his breath.
“Yes, um, in the bathroom. Under the sink.” Parker waved toward the front of the house.
Ivan patted his knee and rose, heading for the bathroom.
“Most houses this old don’t have bathrooms on this floor.” The tile inside the bathroom made Ivan’s voice warble slightly.
“True. But after my mom got sick, we had a bathroom put in so she could stay at home and not worry about stairs.”
White plastic box in hand, Ivan stepped out of the bathroom and stared at Parker. Again.
“Your mom lived here?” Ivan glanced around the room, and Parker nodded.
“Yeah. Near the end, she had difficulty getting around, so we had the bathroom put in and set this room up as a bedroom.”
“Where does she live now?”
Parker dropped his gaze to the purplish, bloodied lump on his shin and shrugged. His mom had been his best friend, and although he’d had a couple years to prepare for her death, it had still rocked him. Even now, almost six months later, he’d sometimes call out to her when he got home. At least Neil had never heard him do that.
“Oh, when did… I mean… I didn’t….”
The sound of Ivan stumbling over his words like Parker usually did had him looking up. The sympathy on Ivan’s face had his eyes burning.
“I didn’t realize, Parker,” Ivan said as he walked closer.
“Why would you?”
Getting himself under control was easier when Ivan transferred his attention to cleaning Parker’s leg. He bit back an offer to do it himself. Would be the more manly, self-sufficient route, but it had been so long since someone had touched him tenderly, selflessly, and with true caring.
The swipe of an alcohol swab over the scrape made Parker flinch, but the unexpected waft of coolness as Ivan blew on it brought goose bumps up on his nape. Did Ivan have kids? Was that how he learned to take care of minor injuries like this?
Ivan continued on with his first aid. “How long has it been?”
“Six months. Cancer.” Parker didn’t need any clarification for Ivan’s question.
“I’m sorry for your loss.” Ivan placed a couple of bandages over the cut, his fingers warm against Parker’s skin.
“Thanks.” He cleared his throat.
As he pulled Parker’s pant leg back down, Ivan lifted his head. Parker had never seen such beautiful blue eyes before, and the compassion filling them warmed his belly.
The doorbell rang, and Ivan sprang back, nearly toppling over onto his ass.
“Guess that’s the pizza.” Ivan headed for the door, pulling out his wallet.
Suddenly chilled, Parker wrapped his arms around himself. He couldn’t decide if living with Ivan was going to be heaven or hell.
4 Stars from Nikyta at The Blogger Girls! “I must say, I absolutely ADORED Parker.”
4 Stars from Christy at Rainbow Book Reviews! “I adored this book and I thank KC for writing such a fun book.”
4 Stars at Night Owl Reviews! “This story combines a bit of romantic suspense with a m/m erotic romance and provides an entertaining light read.”
4 Strawberries at Guilty Indulgence! “If you like hot cops and seeing the bad guys get what’s coming to them then Cover Up is one that you don’t want to miss!”
Reviewed by Joyfully Reviewed! “Intelligent characters, a plotline that keeps the reader engaged, and a charming, sweet innocent combine to make Cover Up a truly entertaining story.”